Activated Charcoal – Wonders of Coal

    Activated Charcoal

    Never Ending uses of Carbon!

    What is Activated Charcoal?

    Activated carbon is a porous form of activated charcoal, which has been treated with heat and chemicals to increase its surface area. When mixed with water, these pores allow molecules to pass through while trapping toxins inside. This makes activated charcoal great at absorbing chemicals such as heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, pharmaceutical drugs, and more. It can even absorb radioactive material! It’s just carbon from plants with lots of tiny holes drilled into it.

    How is the Activation of Charcoal carried out?

    Activation can be done by heating the raw material in an inert atmosphere or under a vacuum at 300 °C and 600 °C. The resulting product may have different properties than untreated carbon due to changes in pore structure caused by chemical activation.

    Various uses of Activated Charcoal

    Analytical chemistry

    In analytical chemistry, activated carbon has been used as sorbent material for extraction or preconcentration of various analytes before detection using spectroscopic techniques. Charcoal was first applied in chromatography, where it was found to improve peak shape and resolution. In this context, activated carbon is usually referred to as solid-phase extraction media. SPE refers to any method involving separating one component from another based on its affinity towards some stationary phase.

    Food Processing

    In addition, activated carbon filters are widely used in the food processing industries to decolorize fruit juices and wine making. It is also used in many pharmaceutical manufacturing plants where it is employed to remove residual solvents from drug formulations.

    Catalyst in fuel cells

    In some cases, activated carbon is used as a catalyst in fuel cells. The carbon acts as a support material for catalysts which convert hydrogen molecules into protons and electrons. This process produces electricity without combustion.

    Activated carbon refers to any carbon with increased porosity and surface area compared to graphitic carbons. It is produced through various means, but mainly via pyrolysis at temperatures above 500 °C.

    Hydrogenation Reactions

    In some cases, activated carbon is used as a catalyst in hydrogenation reactions. This type of reaction is known as catalytic hydrogenation. The process uses a mixture of reactant gases which include hydrogen and hydrocarbon vapors. These mixtures are passed through a bed of powdered activated carbon at elevated temperatures. As the reactant passes over the carbon particles, they become saturated with hydrogen atoms.

    When these molecules reach the liquid phase, they combine with more hydrogens to produce methane.

    Kidney health

    Kidneys filter blood and remove waste products. Activated charcoal can help prevent kidney stones because it binds with urea and other substances found in urine. It also helps reduce inflammation caused by certain medications or infections.


    Activated charcoal effectively reduces symptoms associated with digestive disorders like diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, ulcers, and more.
    Gastrointestinal disorders People suffering from diarrhea or constipation sometimes take activated charcoal to prevent further problems. Activated charcoal has been shown to work well when taken orally. 2013 study Trusted Source, patients with irritable bowel syndrome, which causes frequent bouts of loose stools, were treated with either placebo pills or 5 g of activated charcoal twice daily for three weeks.

    How Does It Work?

    When ingested, activated charcoal works by binding to fat molecules called lipids—which means it absorbs fats into itself.

    How do I use activated charcoal?

    The easiest way to take activated charcoal is to mix it with juice or soda before drinking it. If you’re taking it intravenously, make sure to dilute it appropriately. For example, if you want to give yourself 10 grams of activated charcoal per liter of fluid, you would put 5 grams of activated charcoal in 500 milliliters of water. Then drink it slowly until you feel full.

    What types of overdoses can activated charcoal treat?

    The main benefit of using activated charcoal comes from treating acute ingestions of drugs and poisons such as acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, methamphetamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, opioids, antihistamines, anticoagulants, antidepressants, muscle relaxers, stimulants, sedatives, steroids, and even prescription medications.

    Is it safe to eat activated charcoal?

    No! Activated charcoal should not be eaten because it can cause serious harm if swallowed. The longer answer: Although activated charcoal does have some beneficial properties when taken orally, it shouldn’t be ingested by anyone without medical supervision.

    How much-activated charcoal do I need to take?

    There isn’t enough research into how effective activated charcoal is to make any recommendations about dosage.

    Treatment of Poisoning

    Activated charcoal is effective when given orally or rectally. It should never be injected intravenously because this may lead to severe complications. In case of oral intake, activated charcoal must be taken immediately upon discovery of toxicity. If ingested accidentally, activated charcoal should be chewed thoroughly before swallowing.